Frustration for Chichester... Bognor hold on

The Bognor team who are doing well in division three / Picture by Kate Shemilt
The Bognor team who are doing well in division three / Picture by Kate Shemilt

A draw for Chichester raises questions about the way some Sussex League divisions operate - while Bognor’s good start to the season continues against Rottingdean.

Steyning v Chichester

Sussex League division three

Chichester travelled to Steyning in the hope of continuing their 100 per cent record. But the game ended in a frustrating draw, a disappointment for both sides.

Matt Geffen won the toss and elected to bowl and the home side were soon reduced to 15 for three. It should have been 15 for four but opener Hywel Jones survived an lbw appeal and this proved costly as he carried his bat on his way to 133 not out.

The rest of the Steyning side were able to bat round him and this enabled them to reach 260 for five when they declared after 52.5 overs.

Far better would be to have a simple win or lose one-day game.

Chichester’s Mark Bamford

Geffen took three wickets.

Chichester made a bright start and at 171 for two would have fancied their chances of chasing down the victory target, but somewhat negative field placings from Steyning meant they found it very hard to keep up with the rate and ultimately finished 15 runs short.

Jolyon Dannatt batted very well throughout the Chichester innings and secured his maiden league century in the final over, but frustratingly his fine efforts did not result in a Chichester victory as they closed on 227 for six.

Both sides must have been frustrated with the final result as neither side was able to force a result. With Steyning having secured the full batting points, they should really have been more positive in trying to take the wickets which would have secured the victory.

However, one must assume fear of losing meant that at times they had six fielders on the boundary.

Equally, Chichester could be accused of not going for win in the final couple of overs. However, they would argue that with most fielders on the boundary, they were not going to simply give their wickets away to the home side.

Ultimately, the game ended in a draw and both sides accused each other of not going for the victory. I believe that neither side was culpable as they were operating under the confines of the league rules that many believe are antiquated. Change is on its way and it cannot come a moment too soon.

Batting first, Steyning had six more overs than Chichester, which meant Chi had to score at a quicker rate than the home side. The disparity in overs is compounded through the lack of fielding restrictions, which meant that such defensive fields were able to be set.

Chichester were willing to take the chance of chasing the target down when asking Steyning to bat first because bowling a side out in just 47 overs in the second innings is difficult.

The six-over differential between the two sides is the same as the Premier League, where they actually have a longer game. Perhaps this should be less lower down the leagues? Far better would be to have a simple win or lose one-day game.

Most of the players would prefer this, as it would eradicate the type of games that happened at Steyning.

There is a suggestion that the season will be split into half one-day games and the other games in a format similar to the current one.

Having played and watched a great deal of cricket, I just wish that the one-day format could be adopted and it cannot happen a moment too soon.


Rottingdean v Bognor

Sussex League division three

NEAR the cliffs east of Brighton, Bognor’s decision to field first looked a great one at the hosts were reduced to nought for three.

Rottingdean clawed their way back into the game but at 98 for six, the initiative was with Bognor as spin due Elliott Clarke (2-32) and Joe Ashmore continued their fine early-season work.

However Rottingdean’s tail wagged as Neel Patel (51) and George Ledden (45), with support from the tail, took Rottingdean’s total up to 214 all out. For Bognor, burly seamer Jim Lee (3-51) and the wily Ashmore (3-60) were the pick of the attack.

In reply, Bognor’s batsmen found themselves in good positions only to lose wickets. Mikey Harris, top-scoring with 45, showed the predicament Bognor found themselves in and with Lee and Josh Broad seeing the innings out at 187 for nine, meaning a draw was the result.

For Rottingdean, George Ledden was the home team’s best bowler with four for 51.

Bognor 2nd XI v Southwater 2nd XI

After winning the toss and electing to field, Bognor’s veteran seamers Andy McGregor and Rich Cox went to town.

Bowling unchanged, both bowlers grabbed five wickets apiece, Aussie McGregor bagging five for 23 and Cox five for 44 as Southwater were bowled out for 70.

In reply, the electric Ollie Adams crashed a brisk 28 and chirpy wicketkeeper Harry Hood an equally-brisk 25 not out as Bognor seconds chalked up their first win of the season.